dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
"The white cat symbolizes the silvery moon prying into corners and cleansing the sky for the day to follow... All dark, hidden places and beings are revealed in that inexorably gentle light. You can't shake your white cat because your white cat is you. You can't hide from your white cat because your white cat hides with you."

— William S. Burroughs, "The Cat Inside"

Hee hee

Feb. 5th, 2014 01:20 pm
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
Jon's mum sent us Valentine's M&Ms, and Tim heard me pouring them into their plastic loveheart container. He's been bugging me ever since, apparently convinced there's kibble here somewhere. :)
dreamer_easy: (snow kate)
"Wardaghan has made my loneliness complete,
Wardaghan the white, the precious cat.
She's dead, the one who filled the room with life,
Who fussed around it, housemaid-like.
She guaranteed the peace of all who took a nap,
Was diligent in every task she undertook.
Her bravery made cowards of all the other cats,
And when she pounced, she terrified.
She'd spring into the air to catch a moth —
She could have caught a falcon, too!"
— the 18th-century Yemeni poet, al-Khafanji
dreamer_easy: (*goddess moon)

Describing the work of his fellow anthropologists, Victor W. Turner wrote in The Ritual Process (1969):

"Most of these thinkers have taken up the implicitly theological position of trying to explain, or explain away, religious phenomena as the product of psychological or sociological causes of the most diverse and even conflicting types, denying to them any preterhuman origin; but none of them has denied the extreme importance of religious beliefs and practices, for both the maintenance and radical transformation of human social and psychical structures."
I've seen the sort of thing he describes more than once, in older literature about ancient religions - a slightly embarrassed disclaimer that the Greeks or Egyptians, however profound and lofty* their thoughts, can't compare to The Bible. But Turner's point is that the question is not whether the specifics of religion are true, but that religion is crucial for the way we organise our civilisations and the insides of our skulls.

I am getting a very direct lesson in this in dealing with Frank's serious illness. I know - in that deep and satisfying way which is not willful blindness - I know that someone will continue to look after the little guy when Jon and I can no longer take care of him.

Of course, "religion" is a rather complex concept itself. Projecting Abrahamic ideas about the divine onto, say, Aztec culture, or even Egyptian culture, often produces nonsensical results. My understanding that Frank only has to ask Bastet to show him the way sits alongside my understanding that Frank's awareness and personality are dependent on the matter he's made of and will go when it goes, and alongside my understand that Frank never began and will never end, any more than the sea begins or ends as a wave rises and falls. These ideas are mutually exclusive, according to Western logic. But these are not irrational ideas. Thinking I could cure Frank's cancer with garlic juice would be an irrational idea. These are non-rational ideas. They're not fairy stories I tell myself to make myself feel better (the latter two certainly don't, and the one about the sea is terrifying), but they orient me, guide me, give me ways to think about and process what's happening.

We can't write Frankus off yet - we're still waiting for the results of tests and a new treatment. But eventually, Bastet will pick Frank up and pop him in her basket, with the other kittens. I'll see him there again one day.

* Do you see what I did there? Clever me!**
** I'm hypomanic today. It's been a great help to have the support of the local fluorescent petals - no joke.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank is now capable of three of his favourite things: cuddling, eating, and getting his own way. He's eating like a small black and white horse, demanding lots of attention, and is strong enough that he was able to jump onto my desk yesterday (and it takes both of us to get his horrible-tasting medicine into him!).

Meanwhile, poor Tim has developed some sores around his mouth - nothing serious, but along with the dried black saliva in his fur, plus his empty-threat fangy grimaces as I comb him, he looks like something out of a zombie apocalypse.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
I think it's in Image of the Fendahl where Leela says, "My tribe has a saying: if you're hurt, look for a man with scars". This invented proverb has long helped me make sense of my life. Call it a divine plan, or call it finding meaning in events: the reason I am ill in so many ways is so that I can learn how to help others when they are ill. Nobody escapes illness; it's an inevitable feature of a universe that literally wouldn't exist without imperfection. I've just had more practice at it than some (and less than others).

To boil these cosmic speculations down to a concrete example: if I didn't have diabetes, I wouldn't have been forced to overcome my fear of needles, and I wouldn't be able to give Frank his painkilling injections.

Because I'm so trashed so much of the time, I'm never going to be a Florence Nightingale, nor a mother. During Frank's weeks of sickness, I've often found myself thinking that even looking after a cat is too bloody hard, financially*, physically**, and emotionally, and that, once the boys are gone, that is it, I will never get another pet.

The awful thing is, I think I might actually be good at this.

* Insure your pets. Insure your pets. Insure your pets. (We'll be fine, thanks to Frank's bank account - and thank gods, because you do not want to be making decisions based on cost.)

** Jon is providing all kinds of essential support - especially keeping the laundry going! Frank's ability to get cat food, water, drool, Flagyl, and poo all over everything is proving prodigious. :)
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank continues to improve - Jon reports he was walking around the house last night, and he woke us up this morning by meowing at the bedroom door. He's doing the two things he loves most, ie eating and snuggling with us. It's like we're living in a glurgey Christmas movie, folks. Even if this recovery doesn't last, my gods it's good to have him back again.

Grief is weird. It splits me into two people - one who's the loneliest child in the world, and the "cold observer" who watches and takes notes. I suppose it's my brain trying to handle the overload.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank has not relapsed this morning. Actually, he looks bloody terrific. No guarantees, of course, but thank you, gods, vets, baby Jesus, and Flagyl.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank's just had his painkiller shot, so he's taking a little nap now.

Thanks to my mum and dad's limousine service, he came home once again this afternoon, with a battery of medications - appetite stimulant, anti-nausea pills, antibiotic (Flagyl - he absolutely hated getting this squirted into his mouth, and if you've ever taken it yourself, you'll understand why), etc etc. We're throwing everything at him in a last ditch effort to get and keep him well.

Cruelly but wonderfully, today he's been better than he has since he first fell ill again, Tuesday before last. He's been eating like a Hoover and absolutely insisting on cuddling up next to me. This did change in the evening, though, when he started to look as though his pain might be returning - suddenly he wasn't interested in food, and just lay still, breathing fast. Pancreatitis is terribly painful. But the vet taught me how to give him a subcutaneous shot of buprenorphine - easy peasy! (Which is good, since I carefully positioned a vial of leftover oral painkiller liquid in my pocket to keep it upright, and ended up with a soaked and presumably painless pocket.)

There's no way to be sure, but I strongly suspect that tomorrow morning it will be obvious which way he's headed. Even if he does relapse again, though, how wonderful to have had the chance to spend a cheerful, cuddly Christmas Eve with me old china, tucked under my arm where he belongs.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank has bounced back yet again, and will be home this afternoon. No way to know if he'll relapse once more. What we do know is that we get at least one more day with him, which is not to be sniffed at. Plus I get to give the little devil injections!

Blogging all this is proving to be a big help to me. Thank you all again for your kind and wise words - they provide much-needed support.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
I'm afraid Frank may be stuffed*.

As I guess has become obvious from my lj, he's going through a cycle of recovering while on fluids and painkillers at the hospital, only to relapse once he's home. It is his pancreatitis, after all - a problem he's had on and off for years. This morning he'd lost his appetite again and, by the time we got to the vet around midday, he was shivering with pain.

The vets will try antibiotics to help the skin sores he's developed, do away with any bacteria which may be affecting his insides, and just possibly help reduce the inflammation of his pancreas. Other than that, though, we're pretty much out of treatment options. It's still possible Frank will break out of this loop of getting better, then getting worse; there's no way to be sure. But I can't let him keep going through this morning's misery indefinitely.

I miss me old china.

(His myaesthenia gravis test came back negative, though, so that's something.)

* Not literally. I'll probably pop him under the rosebush.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Aaaand he's home again.

Partly because of the hols and partly because he's so random, Frank's had several different vets in the last month. The latest model gave me the "quality of life" speech today. He's right in some ways: if Frank was as miserable as he was yesterday morning most of the time, it'd be time to relinquish his care to the Goddess.* OTOH, from the vet's comments, I think he thinks Frank's main problem is his chronic pancreatitis. Which is a problem, but not the reason he's been in hospital so much lately - at least, as best we can tell. So idk. It's still good general advice.

I'm doing my best not to know whether Frank will recover and how much happy life he's got left. But not knowing is - as you can tell from this endless series of blog entries - hard yakka. When I was little and our cat Boots was gradually expiring from kidney failure, denial was my defence; these days, I think my defence is gloom. Well, I am not knowing as hard as I can. Nothing to do but feed him, pat him, and wait and see.

* Yes, that is how I think of it. Well, someone's got to look after him, or he'll crash through the afterlife knocking things over and peeing on stuff.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank looked like shit this morning, so he's back in kitty hospital once more. More news as I have it.

ETA: False alarm! Every time I prepare myself for The Worst, the little bugger bounces back. I swear, this morning he looked like he was at death's door. But the main culprit, apparently, was a sore in his mouth which was making it painful for him to eat - painkillers and antibiotics, and this evening, he made the vet crack up on the phone to me by "killing" a chunk of beef by picking it up and throwing it.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank is home, and currently snuggled up with his daddy, sleeping off all the excitement. :) He's markedly improved, though he's still very wobbly and has lost some weight. Nothing wrong with his appetite now, though - he wolfed down some kibble as soon as he got in the door! He and we appreciate all your good wishes. :x
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Frank's coming home!

He's still weak, but he's eating OK, so we should be able to look after him here. Looks like we're gonna have to wait this one out - either he'll recover on his own, or his test results will tell us what to do next.
dreamer_easy: (*writing word count)
Made a little progress on Documentary today. It's around 2200 words, though too much of that is still notes in square brackets of the [he says something amusing] variety. Kind of unfocussed at the mo; doing a lot of cooking to keep busy. If Frank is not coming home tomorrow, I will visit him.

In wholly unrelated news, two TV notes: (a) if you haven't watched Stargate: Universe, do so. We're 8 episodes in and so far it's one of the best science fiction shows I've ever seen. (b) I would not want to find myself on the sharp end of Adam Adamant. Especially if he was doing that disturbing laugh.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
No cancer in his liver cheers cheers cheers.

Possible culprits for Frank's muscle weakness: his chemo (we're changing his meds); myaesthenia gravis (waiting for test results - if positive, meds will control that); idiopathic polyneuropathy (aka fuck knows what) which generally fixes itself in a week or two.

So there's nothing to do now but get him fit to come home, and then nurse him until he recovers, one way or another. I don't think he's in any immediate danger; but it's hell waiting.
dreamer_easy: (Default)
Just back from a late-night visit to Frankus in kitty hospital. We still don't have a firm diagnosis, and he's still very weak, though perhaps a little better - he was able to walk around for long enough to knock a bunch of stuff over on the visiting room shelf! He's quite comfy and alert, and was happy to sit in his little bed and be patted and fussed over by his doting parents for half an hour. Fingers crossed, he may be home tomorrow. Thanks for all your concern and good wishes, folks.
dreamer_easy: (*science)
Frank update: the more ghastly diagnoses have been ruled out by the first battery of tests. More tests to come, plus various shots to treat possible problems.
dreamer_easy: (*cosmic code authority)
Had another 1/4 of a Valium at about 4 am, crashed at 7, woke at 9 to the unpleasant sight of Frank crawling around on the floor, unable to straighten his hind legs. If you've ever seen a bat walking on its wings, the effect was similar. Straight to the supervet once more. All kinds of horrid and expensive things may be wrong with him, including the spread of his cancer. OTOH he may only have slipped a disc. Poor old man - he just can't keep out of that kitty hospital.


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